Abandoned America: Cuervo, NM

Private Property

The town of Cuervo, New Mexico, began in 1901 when the railroad came thorough. The town started to grow when the surrounding land was opened to cattle ranching in 1910. Then Route 66 came, and the town's population peaked in the 1940s at over 300.

And then the Interstate literally came through town: right through the middle of it, ripping up roads and tearing down houses. Cuervo couldn't survive that. It's a ghost town now; a few people still live here, though it's not clear why.

If you like ghost towns at all, Cuervo is a must-stop. It's right off I-40, no side trip necessary. The “living” side of the town, if you could call it that, is on the north side of the Interstate, and on the south side is a massive photo op. There are a few people still living here in trailers, but most of the town is very old buildings in various states of decay. The dirt roads are fine for normal cars, and whatever people are about don't seem to mind you exploring. (I avoided photographing the inhabited trailers. There's no reason for that, so respect the residents' privacy if you want them to respect your privilege to explore. It is technically private property, so don't be a jerk.)

You'll find a church, a school, and many houses. You'll find an outhouse, a basketball court, and some old cars. It's possible that this is the best ghost town in the country that is both genuine and easily accessible. It's a treasure. If you mess anything up, I will personally hunt you down and kick your ass.


Googling for information about Cuervo is amusing: the search spammers provide results promising real estate agents, restaurants, shopping, clubs, banks, kitchen remodeling, lodging, and even jobs. “Community Calendar for all happenings in and around Cuervo, New Mexico!” Uh-huh. This could be used as a hint of which sites to ignore in any search results. My favorite is “Trash Dumpster rentals in Cuervo, NM.”

I have some more pictures from Cuervo on Flickr.

Abandoned House
Old Car
Open Door